Frank Sinatra and Casey Kasem

American Top 40 was one of my favorite shows.

It was created by Casey Kasem. He would always say, “Keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars.”

Kemal Amen “Casey” Kasem was an American disc jockey, music historian, radio personality, voice actor, and actor. He is known for being Co-Founder of the American Top 40 franchise among many other accomplishments.

The difference between Casey Kasem’s legacy and Frank Sinatra’s legacy is pretty astounding.

Kasem “reached for the stars,” in life but didn’t “keep his feet on the ground” when it came to his end-of-life estate plan.

Kasem’s second wife and his children battled over where his body should be buried and battled over who should inherit his money.

His second wife stated that his children had, “…single-handedly and irreparably shattered the lives of their father, his wife, and youngest daughter… and disgraced their father and vilified their stepmother.”

On the other hand, Frank Sinatra’s estate plan was very different. Like Kasem, Sinatra had a second wife, and like Kasem’s family, the old and new Sinatra’s didn’t get along very well.

Frank thought ahead and put in a no-contest, or in terrorem, clause. The clause essentially says that if you challenge the Will, then you are out of the Will.

Not foolproof. Nothing is. However, it is a pretty effective deterrent to family squabbling. And helpful for preserving family unity. 

Sinatra was smart enough to take proactive steps to protect his legacy, his inheritance, and his family’s unity. 

Luckily, disputes can be avoided with good planning first, then properly drafted documents next. Never the other way around. Having your estate planning documents drafted first is like framing the house before you approve a blueprint.

Does your plan reflect your desires and intended legacy? If you’re not sure, it’s time for a second opinion.

Please start with our guide, just tell us where to send it, free of charge.